At Risk Groups

Abuse of women and girls is not limited to any segment of Canadian society. It happens in all kinds of families, to Canadian citizens, immigrants and refugees, young and old. It happens to women with or without children, students, professionals and stay-at-home mothers. It happens to women and girls of all cultural backgrounds. It can occur in family settings and intimate relationships, with friends, acquaintances or strangers, at work or at home. It happens in Canada's largest cities as well as in rural, remote and Northern communities.

Some groups of women and girls are especially at risk.

Aboriginal women are almost three times as likely as non-Aboriginal women to report being the victim of violent crime.Footnote 1

Younger women are more likely to report being a victim of spousal violence and girls are more likely than boys to be the victims of family violence. In fact, girls aged 12 to 17 years are nearly twice as likely as boys to experience family violence.Footnote 2

Women and girls with disabilities, particularly those who live in institutional settings or are profoundly disabled, are often more vulnerable to abuse because they are more dependent on others.Footnote 3

Immigrant and refugee women do not report experiencing higher rates of violence yet they may be more vulnerable to violence due to economic dependence, language barriers and a lack of knowledge about Canadian laws and community resources. They may also experience isolation and family conflict as they adjust to life in Canada.Footnote 4

Older women experience spousal violence at twice the rate of older men. While it is difficult to estimate the prevalence and incidence of violence towards older women in Canada, it is known that senior women are more likely than senior men to be victimized by their children.Footnote 5

For information on key indicators on the prevalence and severity of violence against women; the various risk factors and impacts of violence; and criminal justice and social responses, consult Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistics Trends.

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